A Griffith community run initiative is attempting to address loneliness and isolation in the multicultural community brought on by COVID-19. Once a month women from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds come together to learn from each other and connect at Griffith Community Centre.
"We wanted to bring these women together," Rebecca Mwankenja, co-ordinator of the group said.
"Mental health was a real concern so I wanted these women to come together and encourage each other and learn from each other's experience."
Elderly women from non-English speaking backgrounds who are living in rural areas have experienced devastating impacts of COVID this year with extreme isolation through lockdown, support service office closures, and border closures being among the biggest felt.
In addition, supporting family members with complex disability or mental health needs adds another layer of complexity to why these women so often are unable to prioritise their own mental and emotional well being. So lowering daily stress through connecting women with similar experiences was a focus.
"We want to share our experiences in life, our ups and our downs," Fia Tagaloa said, whose daughter lives with a disability and relies on Mrs Tagaloa's full time care.
"It's wonderful to talk to other women about life, especially during this pandemic that we are stuck with."
The Women's Empowerment Group is funded by and co-ordinated by Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association in Griffith.
The group gets together once a month at the Community Centre to learn from each other's unique experience by learning to cook dishes from their respective cultural backgrounds. However, Mrs Mwankenja plans to include sessions on basic computer literacy and perhaps first aid which the women are keen to learn in order to pass on to other women in their close family circles.
"It's not only cooking that we are wanting to do because most of us don't know how to do other things like use a computer or sew," Vaailili Manu, group member said.
Elderly women from non-English speaking backgrounds who are living in rural areas have experienced devastating impacts of COVID this year with extreme isolation through lockdown, office closures, and border closures being among the biggest felt.